A Whimsical, Woodland Wedding at a Private Lakefront Estate in Meredith, New Hampshire

A whimsical, woodland wedding set in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region was the perfect fit for Molly Caldwell (28 and a nanny) and Jim Czarnecki’s (32 and

A whimsical, woodland wedding set in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region was the perfect fit for Molly Caldwell (28 and a nanny) and Jim Czarnecki’s (32 and an account executive) playful, laid-back personalities. From the cheerful palette of bright summer hues to the antler-accented tablescapes and custom-designed invitations, the couple left no detail overlooked. “I am definitely someone who thinks outside the box and likes to be different, which isn't easy to do when nearly everyone you know is getting married,” Molly says. Renting a private estate on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire, allowed the pair to put their own spin on every element of the day, while providing a breathtaking natural backdrop for the intimate, laid-back affair. After exchanging vows under a handcrafted birch arbor overlooking the lake, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the estate’s terrace, playing lawn games like ladder golf and snacking on inspired eats like lobster cakes and assorted flatbreads. The reception was a tented affair, where the couple’s theme truly shined. Molly spent months visiting antique shops and consignment stores for vintage treasures for the tablescapes, which she paired with vibrant seasonal blooms, antlers, succulents and gilded accents, fusing her love of fashion and design with Jim’s passion for the outdoors. There was plenty of dancing to be had after dinner, including a dance-off or two, with DJ Dan Sky dishing out endless upbeat old-school hip-hop and pop hits. Guests also enjoyed bonfires on the beach, s’mores and a few late-night snacks. “We have a very tight-knit group of friends and family, and we wanted them to feel just as comfortable at our wedding as they would at our own home,” Molly says. “We will forever have very special memories of the estate, since it quickly became our home away from home.” A tip from Molly: “I can't stress enough how important it is to select vendors who you would naturally choose as your friends. They play such a huge role in documenting and executing the most important day of your life, and you need to feel comfortable with them every step of the way."

“Stationary was very important to me,” says Molly. “For me it’s the small details that truly make an event stand out and it was an area I wasn't willing to sacrifice on.” At the urging of Gus and Ruby Letterpress in Portsmouth, NH, the couple got in touch with Printerette Press to design a custom invitation suite that would capture the whimsical, woodland feel of the event to come. The talented designers created an illustration of the couple’s venue, complete with birch trees, ferns and a male and female deer to signify Molly and Jim. To tie the stationery into the rest of the decor, the designers stuck to a palette of gold, green and pink and used a mix of pretty, playful fonts.
Rustic Ceremony Entrance Display
After exchanging heartfelt vows by the lake, the newlyweds and their guests headed to the estate’s large deck for cocktail hour. Guest snacked on lobster cakes, assorted flatbreads and stuffed mushrooms, while enjoying lawn games like bocce ball, ladder golf and cornhole. “The highlight was probably the self-serve beer tap, because is there anything worse than a long line at the bar?” says Molly. Dinner was served buffet style and featured three pasta stations in addition to classic fish, chicken and beef entrees. “We wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, including the children,” says Molly. An after-dinner ice cream sundae bar was a huge hit with guests, as were the late night snacks — lobster mac and cheese balls, sliders and chicken fingers — and s’mores. “Following the reception we had a big bonfire set up and we knew the only way to keep the party going was to feed people again!” says Molly.
Long Wooden Farm Tables
Vintage Bottle Flower Vase
Vintage Escort Card Display
Handcrafted Birch Wedding Arbor
Zara Floral Tulle Bridesmaid Dresses
Puzzle Piece Guest Book
The ceremony took place at 3:30 in the afternoon on the grounds of the estate overlooking the lake, with two large oak trees framing the spot where the couple would their “I do’s.” Molly’s father and stepmother created a large birch tree arbor for the occasion, which they draped with lace curtains belonging to Molly’s grandmother and fresh bunches of peonies, roses and ferns. Birdcages, tree stumps, lanterns and metal planters filled with poppies, succulents, dahlias and hydrangeas lined the aisles and Molly’s uncle performed a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” on his ukulele for the processional. “The ceremony itself was non-religious and focused on the friendship and companionship that a marriage brings, as well as the joining together of friends and families,” says Molly.
Vintage Bird Cage Aisle Decor
Molly wasn’t about to let her bridesmaids walk down the aisle wearing the expected long chiffon gown. Instead she had the girls don matching floral dresses with fit-and-flare silhouettes, high necklines and subtle slits, which she found on ASOS.com. “I always wanted to do floral dresses, because it’s different from what you often see for bridesmaids,” says Molly, “but the look still had a cohesive feel.” Drawing inspiration from the natural scenery, she chose a cheerful green print and had the girls accessorize with pale pink drop earrings and nude wedges, a must for the outdoor affair.
One of Jim’s only requests during the planning process was that deer somehow be incorporated into the decor. Molly took this to heart and integrated antlers into the centerpieces and tablescapes, even using a deer skull, which Jim found in the woods, as the focal piece for their
Lake Winnipesaukee First Dance
The RSVP cards were nothing short of extraordinary, with Printerette Press designing custom postcards with an unexpected twist. The front of each boasted a festive hand-drawn illustration and the wording “See you on Lake Winnipesaukee”, while the back had a Mad Lib for guests to fill out and a place for guests to request a song. “It was fun for guests and even more fun for us to receive,” says Molly.
Rustic Cascading Greenery Chandelier
Bright Summer Garden Rose Bouquet
Wedding Weekend Survival Kits
Whimsical, Woodland Tented Reception
Miniature Succulent Escort Cards
Pale Green Linens and Gilded Cutlery
Potted Wildflower Aisle Arrangements
Handcrafted Wooden Table Numbers
Painted Wooden Reception Chair Signs
Navy Ted Baker and Pronto Uomo Suits
Molly spent months visiting antique and consignment shops looking for unique pieces for the ceremony and reception. Vintage boxes and birdcages were used to line the ceremony aisles, while pink and green Depression glass platters and vases, as well as glass soda bottles served as vessels for the cocktail hour’s vibrant floral arrangements. “I bought all of these items with the intention of using them later in my own home,” says Molly, “and many items were taken right from my mother’s house, as well as my own.”
Molly took the lead on the decor, fusing her love of fashion and design with Jim’s passion for the outdoors in a whimsical woodland theme. The color palette featured playful shades of green, gold, peach and pink and was pulled from the bridesmaids’ dresses to create a cohesive feel throughout the day. Earthy elements like succulents, moss, tree slices, antlers and wildflowers played up the natural feel of the setting, while arrangements of bright romantic blooms, gilded accents and vintage touches infused the day with romance and feminine flair.
Traditional simply wouldn’t do for Molly when it came to her wedding dress. “I like to be unique and fashion is very important to me,” she says. “I knew going into the wedding dress search that I was not going to fall in love with your average white gown.” Luckily, Vows Bridal Boutique in Watertown, Mass. had more in store for the sartorially minded bride-to-be. Renowned for its extensive selection of sample gowns from top designers at affordable prices, it didn’t take long for Molly to find a style that fit her one-of-a-kind criteria. The Hayley Paige design had a flattering strapless, A-line silhouette and featured cascading layers of airy ivory, champagne and blush pink organza. Oversized floral embellishments accented the gown’s top tier for an unexpected finish. “Your wedding is really the only day you get to wear a big dress and I definitely took advantage of that,” says Molly. “I was spinning all night and truly felt like a princess, as cliché as that may sound!”